Get My Free Quote

How to Groom a Dog at Home

by | May 27, 2020 | Trending

Dog smiles while taking shampoo

If you’ve been perusing the web recently, you’ve probably stumbled upon a few videos of how to cut your hair at home during this pandemic. With hair salons closing up their doors until further notice, we’ve all been forced to be a little more creative with hair care solutions. Not only have we picked up the clippers to help tame our own manes, but many people have resorted to cutting their dog’s hair as well.

Depending on your state’s laws and regulations, many groomers have halted on taking new appointments or have minimal slots open on their schedule. If your dog’s hair has gotten out of control, we’ve compiled an easy guide on how to groom a dog at home like a pro.

Why Try to Groom Your Dog at Home

There are many benefits when it comes to learning how to groom your dog at home. Some of these include:

  • Your dog is nervous about going to the groomer
  • Your dog’s hair doesn’t need regular maintenance and just needs a trim
  • The groomer’s fees have become too expensive
  • Their medical conditions make it difficult to leave your dog all day
  • Traveling to the groomer is inconvenient

By learning simple tips, you can learn how to groom a dog at home without all the fuss that comes with going to the groomer.

Dog Hair vs. Dog Fur

Difference between Dog hair and dog fur

Before we get started, it’s important to know the difference between dogs who have fur and dogs who have hair.

Dogs with Hair: These dogs need to be groomed regularly to prevent long hair growth and shedding. At the groomer, they usually get shampooed, conditioned, blow-dried, and cut. The groomer will use clippers or scissors to style their hair. They will also usually get their nails filed down to prevent sharpness. Many dogs with hair also need their eyes washed out. Lastly, the groomer will clean out your dog’s ears and the hair beneath their paws.

Dogs with Fur: These dogs don’t need to be groomed regularly; however, bathing once a month or every other month is recommended. Unlike dogs with hair, dogs with fur won’t get their hair cut or styled. Dogs with fur usually get brushed to remove excess fur; however, their hair falls out naturally and doesn’t grow in length. They will also need to get their nails clipped. Lastly, the groomer will clean out your dog’s ears.

Both kinds of dogs require some maintenance and care; however, the extent depends on their hair type. If you’re going to learn how to groom your dog at home, you will need to know what tools to use to get your desired result.

Guide to Grooming Tools

Dog and hair on the floor after groom

First, it’s important to understand which grooming tools are best to use. Professional groomers utilize a lot of different brushes and clippers to get the right style. A few things you should invest in before starting are:

  • Natural dog shampoo and conditioner to promote a healthy coat
  • Sturdy combs to detangle fur and remove mats
  • Bristled or rubber pet brushes for removing their undercoat
  • Clippers or shears to trim long hair
  • Nail grinder to safely file nails (instead of a nail trimmer)
  • Shower attachment to allow for more control
  • Hairdryer with a low setting
  • Slicker brush to prevent shedding
  • Grooming wipes to get rid of eye discharge
  • Microfiber towel to dry before blow-drying their hair

It may seem like a lot of materials; however, these tools can be used over and over again to groom your dog. Over time, you can save money by investing in high-quality grooming tools.

Clippers or Scissors

Dog clipper and scissors set

If you’re wondering how to groom a dog at home with scissors, we’ve got your back. It actually isn’t one or the other, but both used at different times. Straight scissors should be chosen no longer than 7 1/2 inches. These will be your main cutting shears to cut off most of the length. Shorter scissors are best suited for small dogs, while longer scissors can speed up the process of trimming a larger dog. The blade quality is also important to consider when you’re choosing the right scissors to cut your dog’s hair at home.

There are two a few different kinds of scissors you can use to cut your dog’s hair:

  • Rounded scissors
  • Straight scissors
  • Thinning shears
  • Texturizing shears

When it comes to learning how to groom a dog with clippers at home, don’t be intimidated. You should shy away from getting low-quality clippers designed to advertise to pet owners. You will want to splurge on shears that have high-quality blades that can be removed and sharpened. This will save you money in the long run since you will be able to reuse them for countless years.

You can use scissors and clippers together by cutting off the bulk amount of hair with your scissors before tidying up your dog’s neck, legs, belly, and butt with the shears. Make sure to have a friend help you in case your dog moves around during the process. In addition, be careful and always point your blades away from the dog and yourself.

Tips to Get the Perfect Cut

Dog taking grooming

There are two main methods of grooming your dog at home: buying a grooming table with a restraint noose or cutting your dog’s hair with a partner on the floor. Depending on the size of your dog and their comfortability, you will have to choose one or the other.

You may be wondering, “how do dog groomers keep dogs still?” The answer is having an actual grooming table with a breakaway noose that will keep the dog still and calm. If you have a relaxed dog on your hands, you may be able to cut their hair while laying down on the ground.

Once you have decided which method to proceed with, prep your grooming area by:

  • Finding a clean surface where your dog can lay down or you can set your table up
  • Avoid carpeted areas that may be difficult to clean after you’re done grooming
  • Get towels ready for after their bath

The Bath

Brown dog taking shower and shampoo

When you have prepared your grooming area you’re ready to give your pup the full spa experience.

  • Give your dog a bath with natural shampoo and conditioner
  • Make sure to avoid getting soap in your dog’s eyes
  • Avoid getting water in their ears by using a removable shower hose or cup
  • Concentrate on your dog’s chest, belly, and butt
  • Once fully bathed, use a washcloth or wipes to clean your dog’s eye discharge
  • Before blow drying, towel dry your dog
  • Remember to use the lowest setting on the lowest heat
  • Towel dry with a new towel again and focus on their belly and paws

If your dog hates bath time, entice them with treats and positive, happy tones. It’s important to make bath time a fun, exciting experience so your dog can feel more comfortable in the future. Giving your dog a massage during the bath or bringing in a favorite toy to hold may make bath time more tolerable.

The Haircut

Shih Tzu having a hair cut

Once your dog has fully dried, you’re ready to give them a new haircut! Be sure to ask a friend to help you secure your dog during the grooming process.

  1. Make sure your dog is comfortable and secured so they will not move around
  2. Comb your dog thoroughly to get out any mats
  3. Start by using your scissors to trim your dog’s hair
  4. Begin on one end (either front or back) and trim off a small amount
  5. Make sure to trim your dog’s tail (be careful not to cut their actual tail!) and the hair between their paws – use small scissors for both of these parts
  6. Place your dog’s paws flush on the floor and cut around the base gently to give a rounded touch
  7. Take your shears and shave their underbelly around their privates shorter than the rest of the body to prevent smells
  8. Shave in the same direction as the hair grows and follow the natural shape of the hair
  9. Shape the lower part of the belly on each side with your curved scissors
  10. Going over once more with texturizing shears help give it a more natural look
  11. Remember to hold their mouth shut while cutting the hair around their muzzle
  12. Point your scissors’ pointed blades away from their eyes

Now that you’ve given your dog a trim, you can focus on their nails.

The Nail Trim

Dog having nail clips

Many groomers prefer grinding pet’s nails versus clipping them because they give a dulled finish. It’s also less likely to cut the nail bed when you are slowly grinding them down. Just like using scissors and clippers together, utilizing a combination of trimming the nail before you grind is often a good tactic.

Be careful when clipping your dog’s nails and watch out for the quick, the part of the nail bed that has blood vessels and small nerve endings. The quick forms a seal that protects the nail bed; if broken, your dog’s nails will bleed. If your dog’s nail does get cut, don’t panic. Usually the quick will not bleed profusely; however in order to stop the bleeding, use styptic powder.. If the bleeding lasts for more than 30 minutes, consult your vet.

You can locate where the quick is by examining your dog’s nails. If your dog is younger with white nails, the quick is typically easy to see, especially if you hold it up to a light. Trim a little at a time, looking both at the side of the nail and at the cut surface. In white nails, the cut surface will turn pink just before reaching the quick. This is where you should stop; about two millimeters from the quick.

Health Benefits of Grooming

Small dog taking a shower after grooming

We often don’t think upkeep and grooming could be a part of someone’s overall health. However, grooming is not just about having your furry friend look nice. There are actually many health benefits of learning how to groom a dog at home such as:

  • Removing dead hair, dirt, and dandruff
  • Bringing out the natural oils in your dog’s hair
  • Trimming nails reinforces healthy foot structure and posture
  • Detecting abnormalities in the skin while brushing
  • Reduces the chance of ear infections
  • Decrease the amount of shedding

Routine grooming may seem like a chore, but it’s crucial to your dog’s overall health and wellness.

Insuring Your Dog’s Wellness with Prudent Pet

Dog and parent on the floor

There are many facets to being a good pet owner. Keeping up with their vaccines, taking your pup to their annual exams, grooming them regularly, and enrolling them in dog insurance are all excellent ways to keep your dog healthy throughout their life.

Pet insurance takes off some of the burden that comes with owning a pet by reimbursing you for expensive vet bills. If you want to learn more about our policies and coverage, give us a call at  888-820-7739 or get your FREE quote online today.

Author Profile Image

Jenna Brashear

As one of the most enthusiastic dog lovers in the Chicagoland suburbs, Jenna spends her free-time snuggling and exploring the wilderness (many dog parks and forest preserves) with her best friend, Rudy. Rudy is an adopted Tibetan Terrier mix who enjoys lounging around the house, begging for table scraps, and receiving his daily butt rub. With his black and white coat, curly tail and smelly toots, Rudy is often referred to as our little skunk. Rudy’s favorite past-time is barking at the waves created by our paddle boat and chasing the pesky rabbits out of his yard. We are enamored with him and can’t believe how lucky we are to call Rudy our furbaby.